So what’s all this shit about health and safety? Oh, it’s Lees-Galloway riding his high horse

May 4, 2015

Iain Lees-Galloway is a precious plonker.

But it is not clear from a Stuff report today whether he is being precious about Chester Borrow’s choice of words.

Or about Chester’s robust rebuke of health and safety nabobs.

At least, it is not immediately clear.

The report starts by suggesting his problem is with Chester’s vocabulary.

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Competency tests for miners is a good idea but why not test MPs, too, to keep people safe politically?

April 13, 2015

Dunno what you’ve got to do to pass, but more than 6000 miners are to be tested for competency this year as a result of the Pike River tragedy.

Perhaps  there’s a test for work with a pick and a test for work with a shovel, Alf mused. He  was a dab hand at wielding both implements once upon a time but has slowed up in recent years and might now be given a D-minus for both tests. Mrs Grumble, who does all the gardening in the home patch in Eketahuna North, has a fair chance of passing, on the other hand.

According to a report at Stuff, the testing of the miners follows the example set by Australia, which has stopped mining companies “divesting responsibility” for heath and safety to lower-level staff.

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Checking a building’s safety is one thing – but you’ve got to be Maori if it’s a Maori building

February 5, 2015
And you've got to be Irish to recognise one of these...

And you’ve got to be Irish to recognise this fellow…

Alf is regarding Maori structures with a huge new regard.

Maori meeting houses and other marae buildings contain qualities that he cannot ever recognise or appreciate.

But nor can can any non-Maori building inspector.

Nope. You’ve got to be an indigenous person to recognise and appreciate these qualities and determine whether a building is culturally safe as well as structurally safe.

Accordingly an inspector who can’t brandish the right ethnic credentials should not be entitled to examine these buildings and determine their fitness to survive an earthquake or whatever.

We have this on the expert authority of an associate professor of architecture, who happens to be an indigenous person, although Alf is sure this would by no means affect or influence his professional judgement.

Accordingly we should pay heed to this gentleman.

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Feds are fuming at safety inspectors – but the judge decided the size of the fines in quad bike case

December 17, 2014

Alf has a soft spot for the good folk at Federated Farmers, especially because they always send him an invitation to their pre-Christmas party in Wellington which he enjoys attending.

But he is not entirely sympathetic to their complaint that WorkSafe New Zealand is out of control for pursuing charges against a farming couple for failing to wear helmets on their quad bike.

An account of what happened can be found here at Stuff.

Marlborough farming couple has been fined $40,000 for not wearing helmets while riding their quad bikes.

Phillip Andrew Jones, 33, and Maria Anna Carlson, 30, were spotted by WorkSafe New Zealand inspectors riding a quad bike without helmets on a Havelock farm on multiple occasions since 2012.

The pair were absent from the Blenheim District Court when they were sentenced by Judge Tony Zohrab yesterday.

The court heard the pair, who have a share-milking partnership on the farm, were given multiple warnings by WorkSafe to wear helmets while on their quad bikes, but continued to be non-compliant.

So what does “multiple warnings” mean?

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There will be fireworks down at the club if John Key really said we must brace to become a nanny state

November 4, 2014


Sad to say, there’s a hint The Boss might have  gone crackers.

He says a ban on fireworks appears to be coming closer…

But (according to the NZ Herald) he is reluctant for the Government to impose one immediately for fear of being accused of running a “nanny state”.

So we won’t be accused of running a nanny state just yet.

We will tai-ho a tad and be accused of running a nanny state some other time.

Alf admits to being a tad bemused.

It doesn’t much matter if it doesn’t happen now.

But conditioning us to become a nanny state next year, the year after or whenever raises Alf’s hackles.

And it’s bound to require he explain himself to his true-blue mates in the Eketahuna Club.

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Dig this, dad – there are some things (such as tunnelling) that a lad should learn the hard way

October 21, 2014
This subway collapse shows even the professionals have lessons to learn...

This subway collapse in China shows even the professionals have lessons to learn…

Alf has a great deal of sympathy for the parents of a lad who has learned an important lesson about digging tunnels.

He heaved his dismay, however, when he learned that health and safety officials had been whistled in to find out what went wrong when a pile of soil collapsed in the McKenzie Country.

What went wrong is bleeding obvious: the lad’s tunnelling ambitions were much too ambitious, his choice of terrain into which to tunnel was ill-informed and his technique was flawed.

Nevertheless we’ve got two investigations under way to examine how a 3m dirt pile collapsed on top of a boy in Twizel at the weekend.

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Nightmares take many forms but having your willy lopped instead of circumcised is a bad one

July 29, 2014
Where would David be without his dick?

Where would David be without his dick?

Alf was bemused to learn that a school has paid tribute to a former student and popular teenager who died … how?

From injuries after falling through the roof of a cathedral in Wellington.

Emergency services were called to Wellington Cathedral of St Paul at 11.30pm on Friday.

They found 18-year-old Finn O’Neill-Stevens had fallen 10 to 12 metres through the roof, sustaining “very serious, multiple trauma injuries,” Wellington Free Ambulance spokesman Daniel Paul said.

He was taken to Wellington Hospital where he was put on life support, but died yesterday.

As Alf understands what happened, there were two boys on the roof when the incident happened.

Both were students from Victoria University’s halls of residence.

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Don’t knock DoC – at least, not for the time it took to respond to an SOS about a stroppy fur seal

June 1, 2014
An armed police guard needed for me?

An armed police guard needed for me?

Alf has a great deal of sympathy for the elderly bloke who was attacked by a fur seal on the New Plymouth foreshore.

The unfortunate fellow was in a serious condition last night after incurring serious leg wounds just after 8am yesterday.

The mishap occurred on a popular shoreside walkway.

The victim is in his late 70s and presumably is not as frisky as he once was – not frisky enough, anyway, to escape the gnashers of a stroppy fur seal.

But the NZ Herald is not inclined to accept that this was an unfortunate accident.

Nope. There’s got to be a villain, other than the fur seal.

The Herald’s editors found their villain in the form of the Department of Conservation:

DoC under attack after seal badly hurts walker

How so?

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Why is a young forestry worker dead? His boss blames a dearth of safety inspectors

February 15, 2014

This is a good trick.

When something goes wrong, you say it was the Government’s fault.

In this case, the something that went wrong was a company’s failure to keep one of its workers safe and in good health.

As a consequence of its laxity a young man is dead.

Alf refers to the Taranaki contracting firm whose newly employed tree feller was killed by falling branches.

According to Stuff, the firm has attacked the lack of Government inspectors in their industry.

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Take away the school playground rules and look what happens – the kids are smarter and happier

January 27, 2014


Here’s another “hurrah” post from National’s branch HQ in Eketanuna North.

It is a big hurrah of approval for happenings in Auckland, a city which Alf generally recommends is best avoided.

But obviously some good things go on in Auckland.

Whale Oil is based there, for example, which means his mighty blog is brought to us each day from that city.

We have learned today of another good thing happening in Auckland – the ripping up of the playground rulebook at one of its schools.

The consequence is to affirm what Alf has long believed.

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